More Frequently Asked Questions at Pediatric Dental Healthcare
1. When should my child’s first dental visit be scheduled?
We like to see children by age 1.5 years to 2 years old. We wish to make sure that everything is developing correctly and that any potential problems can be resolved before becoming serious.
2. What will be done on my child’s first dental visit?
We try to keep the child’s first dental visit as positive as possible, however, a thorough exam is essential. A cleaning and a fluoride treatment may not be done on that visit, depending on the behavior of the child.
3. What causes decay?
Decay is cased by dental plaque, a thin, sticky, colorless deposit of bacteria that constantly forms on everyone’s teeth. When sugar is eaten, the bacteria in plaque produce acids that break down, and a cavity (hole) is formed.
4. What is baby bottle tooth decay?
Baby bottle tooth decay is a dental condition that can destroy the teeth of an infant or young child. The teeth most likely to be damaged are the upper front teeth, the ones that make such a difference in your child’s smile, but other teeth may also be affected by this condition.
5. How can I prevent tooth decay from nursing or a bottle?
Don’t’ nurse your child to sleep or put your baby to bed with a bottle of milk, formula, juice or sweetened liquid. Use only water in the bottle. It is important to remember to start weaning your child from the bottle soon after his or her first birthday.
6. When should I start cleaning my baby’s teeth?
The sooner the better! Starting at birth, clean your baby’s gums with a clean, damp wash cloth. Baby Orajel Tooth and Gum Cleanser is a good product to use instead of toothpaste because it does not contain fluoride. Children under the age of 2 are unable to swish and spit, and often swallow the toothpaste. Ingestion of too much toothpaste containing fluoride could cause fluorosis which is discoloration of the enamel of permanent teeth. After the age of 2, a soft-bristled toothbrush can be introduced and you may begin using a small. Pea-sized amount of toothpaste. Remember that most small children do not have the dexterity to brush their teeth effectively. Parental supervision is strongly recommended.
7. How can I get my child to brush longer?
This is always a challenge for parents. Children are on a schedule of “SPEED”
-everything is done QUICKLY. We encourage our patients to brush to a favorite tape or the radio – one whole song is an adequate amount of time to brush. Another way to time your child is with a sand timer. The child can watch the sand through the hour glass and know just when he’s brushed long enough. Parental supervision and assistance is also strongly encouraged.
8. My child takes fluoride pills every day, so why does he need a fluoride treatment in your office?
The fluoride pills your child takes are for strengthening his/her developing permanent teeth, while the fluoride treatment strengthens the teeth that are currently in your child’s mouth.
9. What is a sealant?
A sealant is a clear or shaded plastic material that is applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth (premolars and molars), where decay occurs most often. This sealant acts as a barrier, protecting the decay-prone areas of the back teeth from plaque and acid.
10. My child’s permanent tooth is coming in behind his baby tooth! What should I do?
The eruption of the lower permanent incisors behind of lingual to the retained primary incisors is often a source of concern for parents. In some instances, the root has resorbed and the tooth is held only by soft tissues. In other instances, the roots may not have undergone normal resorption and the teeth are solidly in place. Keep in mind that this is a common and normal occurrence. The tongue and continued bone growth play an important role in influencing the permanent tooth into a more normal position with time. In some cases, removal of the baby tooth is recommended. It has been suggested that if this condition is identified before 7.5 years of age, it is unnecessary to remove the primary teeth because the problem will self correct within a few months. In an older child, extraction would be the course of treatment.
11. Should I worry about thumb or finger sucking?
Thumb sucking is perfectly normal for infants, most stop by the age of two. If your child doesn’t discourage it after age four. Prolonged thumb sucking can create crowded, crooked teeth or bite problems. We will be glad to suggest ways to address a prolonged thumb sucking habit.
12. Should my child wear a mouth guard when playing contact sports?
Yes, there are many mouth and teeth injuries that occur when playing sports.